Roger Marolt: Roger This
The Aspen TImes
Aspen, CO, Colorado
As you know, there is no such thing as coincidence in a place like Aspen. Most likely chance congruities of the mind and/or body here are due to psychic phenomena. This is a special place, and we are a chosen people, after all.
I want to tell you about one such occurrence, and rest assured, it’s not just me bragging, either. I am conveying this to you to prove a point about weird stuff. That’s all.
Way back on July 13, I wrote a column laying out how I would handle the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency if I were Lance Armstrong for a day. I put together a plan to end the drama once and for all. I suggested Lance should put his athletic career in proper context, put an end to his trial by media and turn the page by taking up a chill life in his adopted hometown, Aspen, Colo. As you know, this is what he did last week.
And, of course, you will say this has nothing to do with psychic phenomena and is, in fact, merely everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill coincidence. Baloney! And, here’s the proof.
In my column, I said Lance should hold a news conference and say, “As long as there are ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ you’ll never let this thing die the death it deserved a long time ago. … So, since you prefer to try cases like this in newspapers, magazines and 15-second sound bites, I think it only fair that you finally give me that trial with a jury of my peers.”
Lance, hoping to avoid allegations of plagiarizing me on top of everything else, said basically the same thing only differently: “If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and – once and for all – put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance.”
Crazy similar, huh? But true parallel universes draw closer than this. I said that Lance should lay it on the line by proclaiming, “If anyone I raced against can make an honest case that they deserved (the yellow jerseys) more than I did, … I’ll give the trophies up. Maybe it wasn’t all fair and square the way you (the press) see it, but I know it was in the eyes of the guys I did battle with.”
In his actual statement last week, Lance said, “I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours.” That is practically plagiarism!
But wait, there’s more! After an imaginary local race up to Maroon Bells in my column, I, as Lance, proclaimed, “I’d coast back into town with my shirt off and stop at the Hickory House for lunch. What the heck, I’d have a beer in the middle of the day, too.”
Lance, after the local Power of Four mountain-bike race on Saturday, took a similarly relaxed approach. “I’m going to get a cheeseburger,” he said before coasting off. Smart money bets he washed it down with a cold one, too.
Further pretending to be riding a mile in Lance’s tights, I said, “After hitting the shower, I’d call the Jim Rome sports radio talk show. … I’d talk for an hour about nothing but baseball and Texas Longhorn football. The only cycle we’d hash over is the one where the hardest part is hitting a triple, and the only dope we’d discuss is Bud Selig.”
Lance, saving more breath for riding and running than I did, said basically the same thing: “Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue (doping), regardless of the circumstances.”
Now look, I’m not going to flatter myself and claim that Lance Armstrong reads my column, much less took my advice. That is assuming way too much. Still, it is quite remarkable that he and I pretty much ended up being in a two-man breakaway on how to finally handle this situation, especially because the course of action was shockingly unexpected by almost everyone else.
This clearly leaves the only reasonable explanation waving its arms in the air at the finish line: On the day when I wrote my column back in July, I actually was Lance Armstrong. Wow! Who knew? Of all people, me! You have to admit it’s a closer connection to the man than wearing a yellow wristband or a black “Mellow Johnny” bike jersey.
Too bad I didn’t pick a day when he was coasting down the Champs Elysees.
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